Proud Member of the Reality-Based Community.
Sunday, July 31, 2005
Luke's Rules of Relationships
Here's what it takes for me to be happy:
1. The person I'm with has to be "more screwed up than me," at least in some way. I think that's probably the reason I want to go into psychiatry, sadly enough. I don't like being around people who are happier than I am; they make me uncomfortable. From the time I was a little kid, I have always measured myself against other people. While growing up, I strived to be "the best," and I ultimately succeeded - at least academically, graduating valedictorian of my senior class. It's a challenge to my ego structure, therefore, if you're "more successful" in your emotional life than I am. I need to be the fixer, not the fixee.
2. That said, you can't bore me. I will not settle for uninteresting people who are not passionate about life. You must see deeper meaning in your existence than what is involved in your day-to-day routine.
3. You must inspire me to improve as a human being. If I can't look at you as "my muse," it will not work.
4. You can't be crazy-in-love with me. People who give off this air of neediness almost always make me balk. I am not the best thing since sliced bread.
5. On the converse, do not play games with me. Ladder Theory is essentially correct.
6. I like to think I'm relatively patient and understanding, but the fewer "WTF?" moments, the better. It's better to be honest and straightforward than to leave me feeling flabbergasted.
7. I used to think this was less important, but I have come to the conclusion that you must share the same values as I do. My beliefs are very important to who I am. I love debating people, but I hate going in endless circles. If your ideas are antithetical to mine, chances are things won't work out between us. If you're apathetic/indifferent, that's even worse.
8. In case it isn't obvious, you've got to be intelligent, kind, open, and honest. It helps if you're an optimist; I need to see that you've got "spirit."
9. There must be a mutual "spark of attraction." Maybe I'm superficial, but if there isn't some sort of physical chemistry, then Mission Control, we have a problem.
10. It is vital/essential/fundamental that most of these things go both ways. If I can't fulfill your needs, you won't be able to fulfill mine. Simple as that.
Mexico City Mayor Launches Presidential Bid
REUTERS - Mexico City's popular left-wing mayor stepped down on Friday to run for president with a promise to overhaul government policies in favor of the poor. In a farewell speech, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador boasted of his achievements in the chaotic capital city and said he would take his policies of social welfare and public works spending to the national stage.
"I am going to fight along with many Mexicans, women and men, for a true transformation of Mexico," he told thousands of cheering supporters in a plush city auditorium normally used for rock concerts and ballet performances.
An austere former Indian rights activist, Lopez Obrador is Mexico's most popular politician and holds a wide lead over his rivals in polls for the presidential elections next July. He scores sky-high approval ratings in Mexico City for investing in public transport and new roads, giving pensions to everyone over 70 years old and handing out cash allowances to disabled people, poor children and single mothers.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Spam for Sam
In honour of my favourite Canadian friend, I am posting three articles relating to Canada today. I think it is important to note, however, that their newsworthiness is immaterial next to the knowledge that I took top honours in Sam's recent test. Woot! I'm not one to get mushy, but seriously, I <3 this girl! =D
Yuppers. Now, for the day's readings:
Canada and Denmark Fight Over Island the Size of a Wal-Mart Parking Lot
BBC - A row between Canada and Denmark over who has sovereignty over a tiny Arctic island has moved to the internet. A Canadian man and an apparently Danish rival have each bought an advert on Google laying claim to Hans Island.
Toronto resident Rick Broadhead said he paid for his own ad after spotting another saying "Does Hans sound Canadian? Danish name, Danish island". Denmark sent a letter of protest after Canada's defence minister paid a visit to the rocky outcrop last week.
The status of the island - an uninhabited speck barely 100 metres wide between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland - has been disputed for more than 30 years...
"To my knowledge this is the first time that a squabble has ever broken out between two nations on Google," he told Reuters news agency.
The Mathematics of Canada Goose Poop
(Note: This one isn't technically about Canada, but it's close enough.)
MARY LYNN SMITH, MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL STAR TRIBUNE - Goose poop may seem a trivial matter - until you do the math. One Canada goose produces about 2 pounds of dung a day. That's nearly 600 pounds a week from a flock of just 40 birds. Consider the fact that the Minneapolis area has about 17,500 of these giant birds, and you have a heck of a lot of goose droppings on trails, golf courses, parks, beaches and corporate grounds.
Millionaire Who Doesn't Own Car Buys Canadian Ghost Town
NRIS - The Millionaire Who Bought a Town likes to save a buck. He breakfasts at McDonald's, flies economy class and asks for a doggie bag when he doesn't finish his meal at cheap motel restaurants.
But when, several months ago, the Virginia-based businessman saw a news story about a whole town up for sale in remote western Canada, he called the same day to offer a check for $5.7 million, site unseen.
Today, Krishnan Suthanthiran owns Kitsault, a ghost town abandoned by miners' families more than 22 years ago and preserved like a museum display of suburbia, though one through which bears occasionally wander. (BEAR CITY! BEAR, BEAR CITY!)
Suthanthiran, who was born in India and made his fortune selling medical devices and real estate in the Washington area, said he jumped at the chance to buy Kitsault because, “one, it is beautiful up there, and two, I couldn't believe it wasn't being used. I said if nobody else could figure out what to do with a town, I can.''
And if that wasn't enough maple-leaved goodness for one day, I suppose I could start singing: O, Canada... ...
Yeah, that's all I know.
Friday, July 29, 2005
We Have a New Winner....
From: Sarah (UMKC-Student)
Sent: Thu 7/28/2005 8:26 AM
To: Henry, Lucas Shawn (UMKC-Student)
Thought I would send a message to say HI, so that maybe I can make the most excited email of the day. :) I know that the over-your-limit emails are pretty awesome, so it will be a tough call. ;)
Congratulations! Your email was tons better than the System Administrator's! The award for best email of the day belongs to you! :^D
Thursday, July 28, 2005
MTV Did Better Than Major Networks in Covering Darfur
NICHOLAS KRISTOF - According to monitoring by the Tyndall Report, ABC News had a total of 18 minutes of the Darfur genocide in its nightly newscasts all last year - and that turns out to be a credit to Peter Jennings. NBC had only 5 minutes of coverage all last year, and CBS only 3 minutes - about a minute of coverage for every 100,000 deaths. In contrast, Martha Stewart received 130 minutes of coverage by the three networks. If only Michael Jackson's trial had been held in Darfur. Last month, CNN, Fox News, NBC, MSNBC, ABC and CBS collectively ran 55 times as many stories about Michael Jackson as they ran about genocide in Darfur . . . And, incredibly, MTVU (the MTV channel aimed at universities) has covered Darfur more seriously than any network or cable station.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
From: System Administrator [mailto:System Administrator]
Sent: Wed 7/27/2005 3:00 PM
To: Henry, Lucas Shawn (UMKC-Student)
Subject: Your mailbox is over its size limit
Your mailbox has exceeded one or more size limits set by your administrator. Your mailbox size is 30991 KB. Mailbox size limits: You will receive a warning when your mailbox reaches 20000 KB. You may not be able to send or receive new mail until you reduce your mailbox size. To make more space available, delete any items that you are no longer using or move them to your personal folder file (.pst). Items in all of your mailbox folders including the Deleted Items and Sent Items folders count against your size limit. You must empty the Deleted Items folder after deleting items or the space will not be freed. See client Help for more information.
Sadly, this was the best piece of email I got today.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
So you can sing along...
Landscape - Shawn Phillips
Level upon level of wash and stone
cab drivers yelling that each one, each one's alone
a forced-up smile when casting your eyes
insanity reigns on streets of no size
high crumbling walls of stones that have seen
the rigors of war and have never been clean
a modern pay turnpike in midst of it all
while an old woman works in a garden with trowel
trees are blooming, I've come just in time
purple pink Spring flowers in rebirth pantomime
a miniature red castle in black craggy pass
jig-saw puzzle houses the resultants of mass
the top of a mountain cut off by the mist
and a white serene temple in space does exist
lemon trees, oranges, and cactus alike
the growth of a vineyard with grapes not yet ripe
a truck is forced off as big as a house
while dawdling along like a little green mouse
a long sweeping view expounds my being
and clear restless water with an absence of reef
evolutions and cycles we come face to face
while foliage drifts in green filmy lace
now rough and then coarse soon velvet to touch
octagonal mosaic on a church that is such
and columns of clouds go boiling across
the mountains that stop them and suffer no loss
head reeling cliffs that fall down to sea
while people are sleeping they hang peacefully
but the trucks rolling blindly are waking them up
to talk quietly murmuring over the morning's first cup
arches and steps are seen everywhere
manmade and Godmade and one made of air
the essence of time is virtually gone
day goes and night comes, I breathe of my lawn
Buona sera buona sera is a faithful reply
from any stranger you pass who catches your eye
and pinpoints of brilliance some moving some still
are caught in the glass on my window sill
the pinpoints I mentioned I don't speak of stars
but then to think again it's funny they are
stars made by man who himself is a star
if only he'd realize the powers that are
and all he's got to do is lay down and play dead
and now looky here Vesuvius looms overhead
p.s. Sam is great. Everyone ought to know.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Just riding around the park outside was exhilarating. Can't wait to really take it for a spin. Ha ha.. Annie did always call me Lance. Ha.
Saturday, July 23, 2005
Watch Out, Squishy!
DAVID PERLMAN, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Hawaiian snails, beware! A flesh-eating caterpillar is on the loose, and your shells betray you -- get off those leaves! Daniel Rubinoff, a former UC Berkeley biologist and now director of the University of Hawaii's Insect Museum, has discovered a unique new species of caterpillar that traps the mollusks with silken strands from its own body and devours its helpless prey alive. The caterpillars are the larvae of a widespread tribe of common Hawaiian moths and "represent a successful evolutionary experiment" that enables them to thrive very much as spiders do, Rubinoff says...
The snail is eaten alive bit by bit, and the meal makes a leisurely full one for the tiny insect. After dining on smaller snails, Rubinoff has observed, the insect will attach an empty shell to its casing. By decorating itself with several shells, the caterpillars have probably devised an effective camouflage against predatory beetles and ants that in turn would otherwise enjoy a caterpillar meal, he says...
"Almost all insects are predators," Rubinoff says, "but to find a caterpillar going after a snail is a real shock. It's like finding a wolf diving for clams."
Friday, July 22, 2005
Talking to my Walls...
Tired. Got my TB shot read today - free from disease. Yay! Went to the tailor, got measured for my groomsman's outfit for Dennis and Jennifer's wedding. Three more weeks! Crazy! Went to Target; I bought Cap'n Crunch, a half-gallon of milk, and a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi - the woman who rang up my purchases was reluctant to give them to me after I had paid for them, thought they'd be too heavy for me to carry to my car. I'm not the biggest beefcake in the world, but damn it, I think I'm strong enough to carry two bags 50 feet... how did she think I got them to the register in the first place? Came home, listened to music, started reading Hard Times: an Oral History of the Great Depression by Studs Terkel, which has been surprisingly good so far, in order to avoid doing actual work. Enjoyed Keith's comments on my blog. Realized I couldn't remember the last time I turned on my air conditioner, kept the apartment windows open. Treated myself to a pizza, but only ate half of it. Treated myself to Law & Order, but only watched half of it. Decided to wake up early tomorrow morning, work on a short assignment, go to class, spend the day in the library working on a paper, come home in the evening and clean the place up a bit. Grandma decided to pick Sunday as the perfect time to visit... Hope I'm motivated enough to get all of that done. If all goes according to plan, at least I'll have my bike up here soon. Looking forward to that. Wishing everyone the best. Nothing else to report. My apologies for that. Wondering if I'll be able to fall asleep; it's getting harder to do. So it goes...
Roberts a Reminder of 2004 Election's Importance
TOM CURRY, MSNBC - At stake is the legislative legacy of the Democratic Party for the past 50 years.
Roberts has already suggested, in a dissent he wrote as an appellate judge in 2003, that the reach of Endangered Species Act of 1973 ought to be restricted. Although the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by Richard Nixon, it was passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress. To buttress his critique of a broad reading of the Endangered Species Act, Roberts cited the decisions written by Chief Justice William Rehnquist striking down key portions of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990.
Again, both of those laws were passed by Democratic-controlled Congresses.
In fact, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was one of the last major measures passed by the Democratic-controlled House before the Gingrich Revolution of 1994 ended 40 years of Democratic dominance.
A Republican-controlled Congress won’t rescind the Endangered Species Act or VAWA – the political cost of doing so would be too high. But Republican-appointed judges might tightly circumscribe such Democratic laws and in some cases, such as Rehnquist’s ruling on VAWA, have already done so. What is going on here is a historic tug of war between the Democratic past and the Republican present. Roberts would add another powerful force to the Republican side of the tug of war.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
The Changing Nature of Childhood
DENNIS CAUCHON, USA TODAY - Today, childhood is spent mostly indoors, watching television, playing video games and working the Internet. When children do go outside, it tends to be for scheduled events - soccer camp or a fishing derby - held under the watch of adults. In a typical week, 27% of kids ages 9 to 13 play organized baseball, but only 6% play on their own, a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.
The shift to an indoor childhood has accelerated in the past decade, with huge declines in spontaneous outdoor activities such as bike riding, swimming and touch football, according to separate studies by the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade group, and American Sports Data, a research firm. Bike riding alone is down 31% since 1995.
A child is six times more likely to play a video game on a typical day than to ride a bike, according to surveys by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the CDC. Dakota Howell says his favorite video game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is more fun than actual skateboarding.
The change can be seen in children's bodies. In the 1960s, 4% of kids were obese. Today, 16% are overweight, according to the CDC. It can be seen in their brains. Studies indicate that children who spend lots of time outdoors have longer attention spans than kids who watch lots of television and play video games, says Frances Kuo, director of the Human-Environment Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. . .
Since 1995, the portion of children ages 7 to 11 who swim, fish or play touch football has declined by about a third. Canoeing and water skiing are down by similar amounts.
The relationship between kids and their bikes is especially telling.
In 1995, 68% of children ages 7 to 11 rode a bike at least six times a year. Last year, only 47% did. The sales of children's bikes fell from 12.4 million in 2000 to 9.8 million in 2004, a 21% decline, according to Bicycle Industry and Retailer News, an industry magazine.
Soccer participation has been unchanged in the past decade - about 28% of kids age 7 to 11 play the sport. Soccer leagues and soccer camps are in full bloom this summer, although non-organized soccer games are uncommon. . .
Little League participation has fallen to 2.1 million children, down 14% from its peak in 1997. But overall baseball playing - pick-up games, catch, pickle - has declined nearly twice as fast, the NSGA surveys show.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Fire in the West Bottoms
I was sitting on my couch this afternoon, doing absolutely nothing, when I heard a lone siren outside. Not thinking much of it, I decided to investigate anyway and made the short walk to my window.
Much to my surprise, I could actually see smoke billowing up from the West Bottoms, an industrial sector of the city that my apartment happens to overlook. A few weeks ago, I had watched a couple of guys burn some tires in a parking lot in the same area, and at first, I thought the same thing must be going on. There was just a little plume of white smoke rising into the sky near I-70; cool-looking, certainly, but not appearing to be that big of a deal.
As I continued watching the smoke rise into the air, I noticed a subtle shift - what started out as white smoke had begun taking on a brownish hue. Hmmm... there also seemed to be more smoke now than before... Then, very quickly, large plumes of dark black smoke began rising into the sky from the source of the blaze below.
Luckily for the rush-hour commuters the wind was blowing toward the northeast, so the huge clouds of smoke were drifting across the Missouri River and towards the downtown airport and not over the nearby highway. As firetrucks, police cars, and ambulances began snaking their way towards the site of all of this commotion, I snapped a couple shots with my camera phone.
I then decided to phone my brother Justin to let him in on the fun. Seeing the news helicopter for Channel 41 flying in the sky overhead, I thought this event very likely to make the evening news. Justin, who had been flipping through the local stations while I was talking, informed me I was in fact witness to a "breaking news story," as all of the local channels had broken into their afternoon television programming for coverage of this 'lil fiasco.
Apparently a tire warehouse had caught fire, over 100 firemen were on the scene already, and it was being called a four-alarm blaze. The smoke could be seen for miles all around, and it was obvious people had begun to notice it. My street, which leads to a scenic overlook of the very area that was the focus of all this attention, had begun filling up with cars - the chance to watch a building go up like a firecracker doesn't appear everyday.
For a while, I watched a couple guys in the park across the street who were also looking at the smoke. Eventually, they decided to head on their way, but they had no sooner taken more than a dozen steps when an explosion from the site of the fire reverberated across the city. They quickly did about-faces, running back to their previous vantage point. Loud noises are exciting, ha ha.
As five o'clock rolled around, I realized I needed to be on my way too. Class, class, class! I hopped in the shower, shampooed my hair (no conditioner, what a rebel!), and watched out the bathroom window... Though licks of fire were still teasing the air 40 feet above the ground, the fire department seemed to be getting the upper hand by this point. I watched one tiny figure perched atop a ladder-truck shooting great spurts of water from a hose at the ever-shrinking cloud of smoke rising from the ground. Jets of cool H2O were being directed at the blaze from many directions, and this seemed to finally be doing the trick. As I tossed on a t-shirt and some pants, I took one last look at the hullabaloo down below...
Never a dull moment, I thought. Never a dull moment.
KCTV5 Story (you can see my apt. building in the slideshow, picture 3 / photo #9 is taken from the roof of my tower, I think)
[Still lots of firetrucks there right now - but no more smoke, at least.]
Bring Back the Couch
The Daily Show recently changed its set. I agree with this guy - the couch needs to come back.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Not an Addict
K's Choice makes me wish I did drugs. I bet this song would take on even more meaning then.
Breathe it in and breathe it out
And pass it on, it's almost out
We're so creative, so much more
We're high above but on the floor
It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
The deeper you stick it in your vein
The deeper the thoughts, there's no more pain
I'm in heaven, I'm a god
I'm everywhere, I feel so hot
It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive
If you don't have it you're on the other side
I'm not an addict (maybe that's a lie)
It's over now, I'm cold, alone
I'm just a person on my own
Nothing means a thing to me
(Nothing means a thing to me)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
A shade of green tinged with blue...
"Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice; but for those who love, time is eternity." -Henry Van Dyke, writer, 1852-1933
Bloody Tom Flint - Arr!
What's Your Pirate Name? - Stolen from Iron John Cash
Saturday, July 16, 2005
The Birth of the Atomic Age
In 1945, Daniel Yearout was a 25 year old private with the Army Corps of Engineers. He describes his experience on 16 July 1945, at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time:
"Suddenly, without any sound, the whole world lit up. When I came to my senses, I was lying on the ground with my back to where the light was coming from. I put my hands over my eyes to protect them and I could see the bones in my fingers. It was as if I was looking at an X-ray.
"I whisked around and looked towards the light. I could hear a rumble and the Earth shook. I saw a big fireball rising in the sky - it looked like it was pouring gasoline out there, all the way around. The fireball was getting bigger and bigger and we just stood and watched.
"This was followed by a long rumbling - I'd say it went on for 10 minutes. In and out and round the mountains. The fire began going down and then I saw a swirl of black smoke rising in the sky.
"I was scared at the time. I didn't know what was going on. I remember the man running the camera beside us hollering that it was the most beautiful picture he had ever taken in his life - he said it maybe 25 times. All he was interested in was the picture and all I was wondering was if we were going to get out of there or not."
(From an interview with the BBC.)
A Doctor's Motivation - Lessons from Venezuela
BBC - Hundreds of Venezuelan doctors have marched through the country's capital, Caracas, demanding the expulsion of Cuban doctors.
President Hugo Chavez says he invited the medical staff into the country to provide free health care for the poor. But Venezuela's doctors, who are also asking for better wages, say the Cubans are taking their jobs.
They say the government is trading its oil revenues to pay for some 20,000 Cuban doctors and dentists. Dressed in white medical gowns and bearing national flags, some 400 doctors and medical staff carried banners reading 'No More Cubanisation!' as they marched.
Under a special programme set up by Mr Chavez and his ally Cuban President Fidel Castro, Cuban doctors, dentists and nurses work in newly set-up medical centres in Venezuela's poorest areas. In exchange, the oil-rich country sends Cuba 90,000 barrels of oil a day.
I attended a church service the other day where the key speaker was a missionary to India. I'll sum up my impression of the guy pretty simply: I thought he was a buffoon, but that's beside the point. What struck me about his work was that the spiritual reward he got from practicing his calling was enough for him. In that sense, I admired what he was doing... I disagreed with his message, but I respected his passion.
This is my chief problem with the spirit of capitalism: it places the fulfillment of materialistic desires above what is good for the soul, what is good for society. In Venezuela, you have the case where the long-neglected and underserved poor are finally being helped by the government, and a handful of upper-class doctors cry foul. I respect their right to try to protect their interests, but I don't agree with the idea of placing profits before people.
The physician ought to practice his speciality the same way the missionary practices his, with satisfaction in his labors reward enough for his efforts. It's not quite that easy in the real world, of course. Innovation and expertise must still be encouraged and rewarded monetarily. There's a reason doctors are well-paid in this country, after all. Cash is supposed to equate to quality, and to a certain extent, it does. But this rant is not about what it takes to be a "good" doctor, it's about what it takes to be a "happy" one.
You could be making all the money in the world, but if you cannot find purpose in your life (whether that's serving the poor, preaching the Gospel, or following some other endeavor dear to your heart), what's the point?
Friday, July 15, 2005
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Take Heart, Single Folk...
If DK can figure it out, you can too.....
UPI - U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, whose single status was feted during his 2004 presidential bid, will marry British citizen Elizabeth Harper, a report said. Staff for the Cleveland Democrat, who once was the city's mayor, said only that Harper has red hair, works for a Chicago think tank and is a British citizen, WTAM-AM in Cleveland reported...
During his presidential bid last year in which his single status often was discussed, a Web site ran a contest whose winner won a date with the eligible congressman. Sparks failed to fly, however, and the woman said she really just wanted to meet Kucinich.
My current feel-good song:
Luce - Buy a Dog
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Super Mario Physics
I'd have paid more attention in Mrs. Nienhueser's class if she had ever shown this.
What it might look like if Miss Douglas started falling through an infinite sky of spheres. (If the mannequin gets stuck, you can help her along with your cursor.)
Oh, and for what it's worth, I really can't stand John Mayer either. Don't blame him.
Croatian Bear Learns to Knock
DEHAVILLAND INFORMATION - A bear has become an unwanted guest in one Croatian town after learning how to knock on the door to trick people into letting it in. The 35-stone monster knocked at the door of the Loknar family from Gerovo in western Croatia three times and they are now refusing to answer the door, ananova reports.
"I opened the door and saw him standing there and I didn't believe my eyes at first, then I ran for it as he walked in as if it was the most normal thing in the world," mother Nevenka Loknar said. . .
It appears as though the bear got lucky when he nudged the door for the first time and has continued to do so since believing he will get an answer again.
I'm tired... I can't believe how tired I am.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Turkeys! I hate it when people start talking about food at this hour! Even if it is bologna from Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. :-p
BOING BOING - In the '50s sci-fi novel The Space Merchants (Frederick Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth), the narrator is sent to a factory that produces chicken meat from a blob of disembodied cells fed nutrients via tubes. It looks like this cruelty-free (by massively creepy) way of growing meat may soon be feasible! Yummy!
Sunday, July 10, 2005
A Little Bit of Mischief...
A friend linked me to another friend's blog today. I liked the following post:
The Girl Next Door
The girl next door has cherry blossom cheeks and a birthday cake smile. One hand rests coyly in her pocket while the other waves cheerfully to the world. Like a cool Spring night in the middle of July, she is perfectly out of place. She’s a mystery and an open book, and I wonder if I'll play the fool again.
She has suitors by the dozen who work themselves into a frenzy just for a soft smile and kind word. I see grown men pause as they cut their lawns to tip their hat to the pretty belle of the suburbs.
So girl next door, let’s sit on the creaky porch swing and watch the stars come out. Drinking lemonade, we could reminisce about the good times we’ve had, though we’ve just met. And when the sun rises, I’ll gently shrug my shoulder and you’ll wake from a timeless dream. You won’t start smiling when you see the new day because you smile in your sleep. Instead you’ll yawn, try to fluff my arm like a pillow and shut your eyes, while the sun spins your hair into gold.
This Is Broken
This site is too funny.
Unfortunately-designed websites: Philips Bodygroom
Mark Hurst of thisisbroken.com says, wincing: "Where do I start... where do I start. Let's just focus on the Flash intro - that imagery is really messed up, guys." Link
On Edit: One more....
Graphic Arts Exchange URL
Not necessarily broken, but an interesting point. Morgan Cloward points out that the Graphic Arts Exchange may want to change its URL from graphicartsexchange.com.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Part of me is tired....
Part of me is full of energy. Spent the morning walking around Hobby Hill Park in Gladstone, ate an apple from a tree there (and some other tree's tiny little berries, which ended up tasting very sour - hope they weren't poisonous, ha ha), saw a dead bird with lots of maggots crawling around what remained of its eyeball, and identified a cup plant:
The leaves are mostly opposite, to 1 foot (30 cm), joined around the stem, forming a cup that holds water; wavy margins, rough on both sides, oval to triangular, covered with dots. Square stems.
I'm going to spend the rest of the day reading (unless I fall asleep), so as to catch up with Sam in Still Life with Woodpecker. Gotta finish Updike first!
Friday, July 08, 2005
Corrupt Insurance Companies
Seems that the problem is the insurers, not the trial lawyers.
KANSAS CITY STAR - Medical malpractice insurers in recent years have reaped a windfall in premiums that have far outstripped their claim payouts, a report issued by consumer groups said Thursday.
The report, written by former Missouri Insurance Commissioner Jay Angoff, contends that the amount of premiums collected by 15 major medical malpractice insurers has more than doubled over the past five years. At the same time, the report found that the companies' claim payouts have remained essentially flat [...]
The report said malpractice insurers as a group raised their net premiums between 2000 and 2004 by 120.2 percent, to about $4.2 billion, even though their net claim payments rose by only 5.7 percent, to about $1.4 billion.
As a result, the amount of claim payments made as a percentage of premiums dropped from 69.9 percent in 2000 to 33.6 percent in 2004.
Those premium increases are then passed on to health care recipients, further fueling skyrocking health care costs.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Of Possible Interest to a Couple People I Know:
Prince of Persia 3 (courtesy Mr. J)
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Regular Showers May Cause Brain Damage
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD - Taking regular showers could pose a health risk and even result in permanent brain damage, it was claimed today. Scientists believe that breathing in small amounts of manganese dissolved in the water may harm the nervous system. The damage may occur even at levels of the naturally occurring metal normally considered safe, say the US researchers. Although manganese levels in public water supplies are monitored, regulators have not considered the long-term effects of inhaling vaporised manganese while showering, they claim.
"If our results are confirmed, they could have profound implications for the nation and the world," said Dr John Spangler, from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, New Carolina. "Nearly nine million people in the United States are exposed to manganese levels that our study shows may cause toxic effects.
"Inhaling manganese, rather than eating or drinking it, is far more efficient at delivering manganese to the brain. The nerve cells involved in smell are a direct pathway for toxins to enter the brain. Once inside these small nerves, manganese can travel throughout the brain."
Spangler's team calculated from animal studies the amount of manganese people would absorb by showering for 10 minutes a day. After 10 years of showering in manganese-contaminated water, children would be exposed to levels of the metal three times higher than the doses needed to leave deposits in rats' brains, the researchers found. Adults with a longer history of showering could be exposed to doses 50 per cent higher.
TV in the Bedroom Hurts Children's Test Scores
WASHINGTON TIMES - Excessive television viewing by children is linked to diminished academic achievement, according to a trio of studies released yesterday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The findings underscore pediatricians' admonitions that parents should limit television viewing, especially for very young children.
One study of 348 California third-graders found that children with computers in the home -- but no TVs in their bedrooms -- scored the highest in standardized math, reading and language-arts tests. . .
Higher computer usage translated into significantly higher scores in all three test subjects, they said.
But not having a TV in the bedroom also was positively associated with higher test scores, the researchers said. It's possible that children scored better on tests because they watched less TV. Children without bedroom TVs watched 10.7 hours a week, compared with 12.8 hours a week by children with bedroom TVs, they said. But there could be other factors at play, such as poor sleep habits owing to bedroom TVs, they added.
A second study, of nearly 1,800 first-graders, found that children who watched more than two hours of TV a day when they were toddlers performed poorly on three reading and intelligence tests.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
Friday, July 01, 2005
'Nightmares and Dreamscapes'
I woke up a little while ago from a blissful dream, in which I was at the mall with Brian and Lauren, waiting for the start of "The War of the Worlds." My dreams rarely make any sense, and this one was no exception, as we found ourselves tipping over a row of shelves full of alcohol at one point, in order to foil the plans of some bad guy who had planted an explosive device near one of the bottles (how breaking them all actually helped anything, I don't know). I also watched as Montgomery Burns placed a cigarette on top of a security camera at the aforementioned mall and proceeded to have a dialogue with a disembodied voice about when he was born. Lauren, meanwhile, developed an odd and obsessive interest in the video game "Sim Tower" while walking around the mall and was going to make us all late for the movie we were planning to see. When B, L2, and I realized that time was in short supply, we hopped on an elevator, pushing the button for the third floor, but a bolt of lightning that struck the 'lift' caused it to shoot up to the sixth level of the building instead. When the doors opened, I was no longer in some suburban shopping paradise; in its place, a sandy beach stretched out as far as the eye could see in either direction, a blue, mist-covered ocean directly in front of me. My two companions now gone from my consciousness, I walked down to the shore, turned my back to the sea and lay down. I was surprised at how warm the tide that enveloped me was, as it swept me out toward the ocean of wakefulness once again.
I opened my eyes, only half-asleep at this point, blinking them at the yellow fabric of the couch that I had dozed off on the night before. The ceiling fan overhead was still turning round-and-round, and the light breeze it sent around the room caused my naked flesh to goose-pimple; it was as though someone had just ran a bird's feather up and down my spine. I shivered. Groggy and with eyes only partially open, I swung my feet off the couch and made the short walk over to the computer sitting on my desk. As I hit the refresh key (F5) to bring up the latest headlines from the BBC's news site, the last vestiges of my dreamworld began to fade from memory, replaced by the stark nightmare of reality which had suddenly popped into view on the monitor sitting in front of me. There it was, in black-and-white: "US Supreme Court Justice Resigns - Sandra Day O'Connor, who holds a crucial swing vote on the US Supreme Court, announces her retirement."
All I could think of was the discussion I had had two days earlier with my English professor as we left class, both remembering the ill feelings that had passed through us when ANWR drilling legislation was finally passed by Congress earlier in the year. But while that day had been dark, today seemed to be utterly lacking in light - a blackhole of news. As I combed through other headlines, my heart continued to sink further and further: US has 22% of world's prisoners, Half of Moscow could disappear due to ground fractures, U.S. won't cede control of Internet's key computers, Sweeping Medicaid cuts hit Missourians, June one of the deadliest months for U.S. troops in Iraq. Okay, maybe the Moscow story was a stretch, but everything else left me feeling numb. What was this world coming to? Even my dreams made more sense than this...
I think I may just go back to bed. =(